Problem Solving 101

Description.

The fun and simple problem-solving guide that took Japan by storm Ken Watanabe originally wrote Problem Solving 101 for Japanese schoolchildren. His goal was to help shift the focus in Japanese education from memorization to critical thinking, by adapting some of the techniques he had learned as an elite McKinsey consultant. He was amazed to discover that adults were hungry for his fun and easy guide to problem solving and decision making. The book became a surprise Japanese bestseller, with more than 370,000 in print after six months. Now American businesspeople can also use it to master some powerful skills. Watanabe uses sample scenarios to illustrate his techniques, which include logic trees and matrixes. A rock band figures out how to drive up concert attendance. An aspiring animator budgets for a new computer purchase. Students decide which high school they will attend. Illustrated with diagrams and quirky drawings, the book is simple enough for a middleschooler to understand but sophisticated enough for business leaders to apply to their most challenging problems.

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Kindle Book

  • Release date: March 5, 2009

OverDrive Read

  • ISBN: 9781101029183
  • File size: 7840 KB

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Business Education Psychology Nonfiction

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Kindle Book Release date: March 5, 2009

OverDrive Read ISBN: 9781101029183 Release date: March 5, 2009

EPUB ebook ISBN: 9781101029183 File size: 7840 KB Release date: March 5, 2009

  • Ken Watanabe - Author
  • Formats Kindle Book OverDrive Read EPUB ebook
  • Languages English

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cover

About the Book

About the Author

CLASS #1: Problem-Solving Kid Basics

CLASS #2: Rock Bands and Root Causes

CLASS #3: Fishy Goals and Solid Achievements

CLASS #4: Football School Pros and Cons

PROBLEM-SOLVING TOOL BOXES:

Yes/No Tree

Problem-Solving Design Plan

Hypothesis Pyramid

Pros and Cons; Criteria and Evaluation

Acknowledgments

Problem Solving 101 started out as a simple guide to teach Japanese schoolchildren critical thinking skills. But it quickly became an international bestseller for readers of all ages, thanks to the powerful effectiveness of Ken Watanabe’s unique methods.

Full of useful diagrams and quirky drawings, Problem Solving 101 is packed with practical tools and techniques to train your brain to solve problems, create solutions and make faster, better decisions.

Simple enough for a high school student to understand but sophisticated enough for CEOs to apply to their most challenging problems, Problem Solving 101 has helped millions of people around the world to find successful solutions to even the toughest of problems.

Ken Watanabe grew up in Japan and studied in the United States at Yale and Harvard Business School. He was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company for 6 years. He is now the founder and CEO of his own education, entertainment and media company, Delta Studio. He lives in Tokyo.

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what is your delta?

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WHY PROBLEM SOLVING?

We all have to make decisions. Whether you’re a student, a parent, a businessperson, or the president of the United States, you face problems every day that need solving. The problems may vary. Maybe you need to pass a maths class, or decide where to live, or figure out how to improve your company’s bottom line. Maybe you want to lose some weight or simply get better at golf.

Whether the issue is big or small, we all set goals for ourselves, face challenges, and strive to overcome them. There’s a fundamental approach to solving these real-life problems, one that can consistently lead you to effective and satisfying solutions. And chances are, no one has ever bothered to show you how.

One of my missions in writing this book was to show everyone a simple way to deal with the problems they face in their everyday lives. But I wasn’t just trying to communicate a skill set. Being a problem solver isn’t just an ability; it’s a whole mind-set, one that drives people to bring out the best in themselves and to shape the world in a positive way. Rather than accepting the status quo, true problem solvers are constantly trying to proactively shape their environment. Imagine how different our world would be if leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, JFK, and Steve Jobs lacked this attitude.

I hope this book will help inspire both children and adults to develop this proactive mind-set by first tackling the problems in their own lives. Once you learn this simple way to solve the personal challenges you face every day, you just might see that your bigger dreams and accomplishments are also within your reach.

WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK

Before I wrote this book, I was a consultant for the global management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company. For six years I worked with major companies all over the world to help solve their business challenges using a straightforward yet powerful set of problem-solving tools.

These are tools that anyone can use. They don’t require complicated computer software or a room full of expert analysts. They’re simply approaches to broaden and organize one’s thinking about a problem, so that more possible solutions become clear.

In 2007 Japan’s prime minister made education his nation’s top agenda. As the country turned its focus to the educational system, I felt compelled to do my part. Although Japanese business leaders, educators, and politicians have long talked about the need for Japan to shift from “memorization-focused education” to “problem-solving-focused education,” no one had figured out a concrete and effective way to make this happen.

So I left McKinsey to write this book and to teach kids. My aim was to teach Japanese children how to think like problem solvers, to take a proactive role in their own education and in shaping their lives. I tried to frame the tools we used at McKinsey in a fun and approachable way, one that would show kids what a practical approach to problem solving could help them accomplish. Although I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on education, I hoped that the book would at least provide a starting point, one that would help shift the debate from whether we should teach problem solving to how we should go about teaching it.

Then a surprising thing happened: The book took off—and not just with kids. It first caught fire in the business segment, becoming Japan’s number one business best-seller in 2007. Then it spread through the education community and to a wider general audience. It turned out that adult readers in Japan, from parents and teachers to CEOs of major corporations, had been craving a simple and useful guide to problem-solving techniques.

Now I’m focusing on helping kids put Problem Solving 101 into practice. I think the experience kids get from having an idea, taking initiative, and learning from both their successes and their failures is what we have to put more emphasis on. So I’m creating more opportunities for them to learn more from real-life situations rather than just in the classroom.

When I work with kids, I don’t start by teaching the skills from Problem Solving 101 in a classroom. Instead, I let them learn the same way Warren Buffett did. Buffett got his first business experience when he was only six years old, buying Coke bottles from his grandfather’s store and selling them for a profit. The kids I work with get to run a food and drink business using a 1965 VW van I’ve renovated for use as a transportable shop. The kids decide what food and drinks to sell, where to sell, and how to compete against other teams by actually selling what they have cooked or prepared. The kids learn the importance of not just problem solving skills, but also leadership, teamwork, creativity, persistence, charm, and kaizen (continuous improvement) to make their vision come true. Only after this experience do I help them ask the important questions and provide them with the problem-solving tools that could help them with future projects.

The value of problem-solving-oriented thinking obviously extends far beyond the classroom into every facet of our lives. It enables us to take control of the challenges we encounter and to change the world in a positive way. My hope is that English-reading audiences will benefit from the book in the same way many Japanese readers have.

Best, Ken Watanabe

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YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO BECOME A PROBLEM-SOLVING KID

This is a book about kids solving problems. They face some pretty tricky challenges—the kinds of problems that might cause most people to throw up their hands and give up. But problem-solving kids aren’t like most people—even though most people should be more like them.

As you’ll see, problem-solving kids come in all ages, shapes, and sizes. They may seem to have special talents, or at least more than their fair share of luck. But the truth is, they’re people just like you, who have learned how to think, make decisions and act on their own, and to live proactive lives. They’ve also picked up some helpful problem-solving tools along the way.

If you follow the simple lessons in these pages, you too can become a problem-solving kid (even if you consider yourself a grown-up). Rather than feeling as though your life is out of your control, you can take charge and shape the world around you. Instead of being overwhelmed by the challenges you face every day, you can learn to enjoy them and overcome them.

In fact, you may even feel like a better person at the end of this course . Your dreams and goals will seem less out of reach. And you’ll be better able to accomplish whatever you’re passionate enough and imaginative enough to conceive and pursue.

It could be something as simple as becoming a better dancer or learning how to cook French cuisine. Or maybe it’s a bigger goal, like running for government or solving the global warming crisis. Whatever it is, you’ll learn how to tackle it.

Problem solving isn’t a talent limited to the lucky few. It’s actually a skill and a habit that you can learn. This book will introduce you to a basic problem-solving approach through three case studies:

  • The Mushroom Lovers, a new band trying to improve their concert attendance numbers
  • John Octopus, a bright young man with aspirations of becoming a computer graphics animator who needs to buy his first computer
  • Kiwi, an aspiring football player looking for the best training school in Brazil

It will also give you a full toolbox of proven problem-solving techniques, the same techniques used by successful problem-solving people and companies all over the world. But before we start learning the problem-solving approach, let me introduce you to the problem-solving kids and their friends.

PROBLEM-SOLVING KIDS AND COMPANY

So by now you’re probably wondering what is it exactly that makes someone a problem-solving kid. First, let’s talk about what they’re not. There are several common attitudes that can get in the way of effective problem solving. While the following characters may sound like caricatures of real people, I bet these non-problem-solving kids also sound pretty familiar. Chances are you know people just like them at school or at work. Maybe they’re your friends or members of your family. Some of them may even remind you of yourself!

For instance, take Miss Sigh.

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Miss Sigh is the kind of person who gives up immediately whenever she faces even the smallest challenge. She just sighs and says, “I’ll never be able to do that.” Which isn’t to say she couldn’t achieve things if she tried. Sometimes she has a great idea or notices a problem that can be fixed. But she’s terrified of failing and having people laugh at her. Instead of speaking up or taking action, she sits around feeling sorry for herself.

Miss Sigh can’t take control of her own life. She feels as though no one understands her, and she blames anything bad that happens on everybody else. Over and over, she says the same kinds of things:

  • “I’ll never be able to do that. I’m just not that talented.”
  • “I’m not going to try. What if I fail? Everyone will make fun of me!”
  • “I blame my parents. I blame society. I blame you!”
  • “Nobody understands me. Nobody cares about me. Everybody is out to get me.”

Bookey

Problem Solving 101 Summary

A simple book for smart people, ken watanabe, factfulness, hans rosling, ola rosling, anna rosling rönnlund, designing your life, bill burnett, dave evans, barbarians at the gate, bryan burrough, leaders eat last, simon sinek, sources of power.

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    Description: Problem Solving 101 started out as a simple guide to teach Japanese schoolchildren critical thinking skills. But it quickly became an international bestseller for readers of all ages, thanks to the powerful effectiveness of Ken Watanabe's unique methods.Full of useful diagrams and quirky drawings, Problem Solving 101 is packed with ...

  4. Problem Solving 101 : A Simple Book for Smart People

    Problem Solving 101 started out as a simple guide to teach Japanese schoolchildren critical thinking skills. But it quickly became an international bestseller for readers of all ages, thanks to the powerful effectiveness of Ken Watanabe's unique methods. Full of useful diagrams and quirky drawings, Problem Solving 101 is packed with practical tools and brain training techniques that will ...

  5. Problem Solving 101 : A Simple Book for Smart People

    The fun and simple problem-solving guide that took Japan by stormKen Watanabe originally wrote Problem Solving 101 for Japanese schoolchildren. His goal was to help shift the focus in Japanese education from memorization to critical thinking, by adapting some of the techniques he had learned as an elite McKinsey consultant. He was amazed to discover that adults were hungry for his fun and easy ...

  6. PDF Summary of Problem Solving

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  7. Problem Solving 101

    Description. Details. The fun and simple problem-solving guide that took Japan by storm. Ken Watanabe originally wrote Problem Solving 101 for Japanese schoolchildren. His goal was to help shift the focus in Japanese education from memorization to critical thinking, by adapting some of the techniques he had learned as an elite McKinsey consultant.

  8. PDF THE IDEAL PROBLEM SOLVER

    THE IMPORTANCE OF PROBLEM SOLVING New Views about Thinking and Problem Solving 3 Some Common Approaches to Problems 7 Mental Escapes I 0 The Purpose and Structure of This Book 12 Notes 13 • Suggested Readings 14 PART I A fRAMEWORK FOR USING KNOWLEDGE MORE EFFECTIVELY I 7 CHAPTER 2 A MODEL FOR IMPROVING PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS 19 The IDEAL ...

  9. Problem Solving 101

    This book will introduce you to a basic problem-solving approach through three case studies: The Mushroom Lovers, a new band trying to improve their concert attendance numbers. John Octopus, a bright young man with aspirations of becoming a computer graphics animator who needs to buy his first computer.

  10. PDF Introduction to Problem-Solving Strategies

    can use problem solving to teach the skills of mathematics, and how prob-lem solving should be presented to their students. They must understand that problem solving can be thought of in three different ways: 1. Problem solving is a subject for study in and of itself. 2. Problem solving is an approach to a particular problem. 3.

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  12. Problem Solving 101 Summary PDF

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    lems that you can handle. But the other side of problem-solving is creativity. Sometimes one method will work, sometimes you have to come up with some-thing else. A good eye for a clear diagram will carry you far, too. But most importantly, problem-solving in physics and maths is a skill, and so, like any skill, it can be improved with practice.

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    Handbook on Problem-solving Skills 5 2 Causes of Poor Problem-Solving Ineffective or poor problem-solving can be the result of any of the following factors. These factors act like blinkers, constricting the perspective of person in the process of problem-solving. 1. Bounded Rationality: Propounded by Herbert Simon, the concept of bounded

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    The Problem Solving 101 session at the Institute will explore these concepts in greater detail, and many elements will be relevant for the balance of the sessions. This note introduces some key concepts to help properly frame research questions, as well as highlights some tools to help manage for success along the way. The Problem Statement

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  21. PDF 101 Problems in Algebra

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